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Wallace Reid


johnnyweekes70
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This afternoon I was at the beach with my kids and a guy strolled past us who looked a little like Wallace Reid. My first thought was that I'm probably the only guy who's ever thought this fellow looked like Wallace Reid. My second thought urged on several more about Wallace Reid himself. The first time I saw a picture with Wallace Reid, and the picture was Cecil B. DeMille's Joan the Woman, I thought Reid reminded me of Robert Mitchum. He looked half-asleep through every scene he was in. Then I saw DeMille's Carmen and thought Reid was probably overtired while he made it because he looked half-asleep. Then I saw another DeMille extravaganza, The Affairs of Anatol, and Reid looked a little more awake than he did in the previous two but still a far cry from the usual wide-eyed leading man of the time. I figured Reid's style of acting was simply low-key, that he eschewed the dramatics and the theatrics others so happily employed. Then I found out Reid was something far more than just a leading man. Still in his early twenties, he wrote and directed, or wrote or directed, many shorts that he also acted in that truly surprised me. I know Lon Chaney helmed a few but I think it's amazing that he did so much, achieved such hefty stardom, yet has almost been washed away into obscurity except for a chosen few who probably frequent this website. Of his work, I've only seen those I've mentioned. I suppose my point is that if more of his pictures survived, the number of which I don't know, would he be more fondly remembered or was his talent just a momentary glimmer in Hollywood's convulted history? I haven't really investigated the man too much and I can't remember if his addiction problems negatively affected his work's longivity following his early death, but I would suppose they did. Hollywood certainly seems to shame those whose personal demons became public knowledge. Today, Reid seems an enigma, a somewhat tired and sleepy one, whose wife's later work is far more accessible than his own. For such a talented guy, his fate, at least how I perceive it, is a tragedy. Am I wrong?

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Hi Johnny and Fernando,

 

From what little I know about Wallace Reid, that guy you saw on the beach could have been a descendant of Wallace Reid.

He did have a son, named William (Billy), and he could have had children. This, I don't know for sure, as I never knew Reid's family, but it could be possible.

Mae Murray made a picture with WR and greatly admired him. She told George Hamilton and me, in 1962 at a Paramount tribute to silent movies, that Reid was the biggest movie star on Earth before he died. (She never liked Mary Pickford, so that could have something to do with her opinion as to who was 'the biggest'). Mae figured that Paramount killed him by supplying dope to him to dull an old injury pain.

Dorothy Davenport ended up in the Motion Picture Home in Woodland Hills, too... I think she died around 1980.

 

Larry

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And feaito, next time TCM runs The Affairs of Anatol, you should check it out, if you like silents, I can't remember if you do. The print I've got on DVD is, I think, the same one TCM has shown. It's full of amazing colour-tinted title-cards and tinted sequences and is, as the back blurb about announces "in itself, a striking work of art." The film's a bit cheesy, most DeMille's are, but it really is something to see. And Reid's pretty good in it, too, so close to his end.

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  • 1 year later...

Well I cn say he may have looked like him but he wasn't. Yes Wallace Reid was a big star and yes the studio probably did kill him. It was a scandal then, today it would be nothing. Well His son did pass and I know it wasn't his son so who out there has info on him? If anyone is still living who knew him or his wife, or family please contact me. I do know his grand children so please let's put it all together.

 

WRJ

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  • 3 weeks later...

I'm a researcher for an author in NY, Lina Accurso, who is writing a book about Wallace Reid and Dorothy Davenport that will be coming out within the next year. Lina is in contact with their grandchildren and we would like to hear from anyone who is interested in learning more about this family -- or someone who might have info to share with us about them.

Charlene Patterson

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